For most people, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration.
But for those who’ve recently lost a loved one, it’s more likely to be a painful and lonely situation — especially if it’s the first time they’ve experienced the holidays after their loss.
The holiday season may seem hollow, and make it more difficult to move forward as they grieve.
While the heartfelt support of family and friends always helps, give credit to organizations behind sincere and meaningful remembrance ceremonies designed to help people cope during such a difficult time — to include those victimized by crime.
A ceremony Monday in Garden City will help families and friends who lost a loved one to a violent crime.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office, along with the Kansas Organization for Victim Assistance, will travel across the state to present receptions in various communities, including one from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday in Classroom B at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City.
“The holiday season can be a difficult time for the families of crime victims,” Schmidt said. “These receptions provide families an opportunity to come together and honor their memories and share support and encouragement.”
The public is invited. An Angel Tree will be on display, and those who attend are encouraged to bring an ornament to leave on the tree in memory of their loved ones.
Receptions also are planned in Wichita, Kansas City and Topeka.
All involved know the stress and pain for families of victims of violent crimes lingers long past the shock of the crime and legal proceedings that may unfold.
Folks in the law enforcement community see the fallout firsthand. Their interest in helping people better manage the stress and grief sure to come during the holidays is commendable.
The reception and Angel Tree ceremony, and other remembrance ceremonies this time of year also should serve as a sobering reminder to all of the fragility of life — and why the holidays are such a bittersweet time for our friends and neighbors who’ve experienced the loss of loved ones.
Keep them in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season and beyond.